The view from my veranda

170330 United Nations, Kinneret Chaya March 30th, Pesach

31st March 2017

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. I bet you thought I wasn’t going to write today! In truth I wasn’t well yesterday and missed out on Zvi’s big event of the year. 20 choirs from all over Israel put on a terrific show to the delight of a sold out audience. So proud of him. Anyway got myself together this morning and went to congratulate everyone at the hotel where they are staying and came back home. I’m not ill by any means – I think I am just suffering from pre- Pesachitis!!!

I am delighted to announce good news from the United Nations!!! Maybe I should have warned you to sit down first. We discovered last week what a phenomenal friend of Israel, and justice, we have in United States Ambassador Nikki Haley and this week Britain also called on the UNHRC making their feelings clear on their discrimination against Israel. “Israel is a population of eight million in a world of seven billion,” said a statement from the British Government “Yet since its foundation, the Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions; 68 of which against Israel. Justice is blind and impartial. This selective focus on Israel is neither,” added the statement, which pointed out that that “Israel is the only country permanently on the Human Rights Council’s agenda. Israel is a population of eight million in a world of seven billion,” said a statement from the British government, yet since its foundation, the Human Rights Council has adopted 135 country-specific resolutions; 68 of which against Israel. Justice is blind and impartial. This selective focus on Israel is neither; Israel is the only country permanently on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.”

If you had any doubt as to the horrendous bias please see these two links of Hillel Neuer speaking and being interrupted. ​​

Andrew Neil is an old-school journalist, afraid of no-one. At the opening of his This Week programme Neil tells the “jumped up Jihadi Joes” exactly who they are dealing with. “you will never beat the British people – you have no idea who you are dealing with” A real mensch

Yesterday was a very important date. The 30th of March, a date I can never forget. On March 30th 2002, in the middle of the Intifada, a beautiful young student was working as a waitress in a Tel Aviv Coffee Shop, right on Allenby Street. A young fellow walked into the café and she approached him, asking if he wanted anything to drink. As she walked back behind the bar he simply pressed a button and blew himself up. Our beautiful young woman lay on the floor, the blazing bar on top of her, certain she would not survive. The paramedic, Yitzchak Kochav, made a last check around the burnt out café and suddenly saw something move. With mighty strength he lifted the bar to find the horrifically burned body underneath. Even in that state Kinneret managed to smile at him. He took her to the hospital never leaving her side, even when her family arrived. I can never forget the phone call from Orly telling us what happened. Kinneret, daughter of our close friends Moishe and Yaffa, was given a 2% chance of survival, burned on 85% of her body. At her parents request we went to a Rebbitsen and Amiad took an amulet to place under her pillow. That night a Rabbi visited her in hospital and told the family to change her name from Kinneret to Kinneret Chaya – Kinneret Lives.

As those of you who have been with me for many years know, I recorded every move every new thing, every moment of her miraculous recovery. This young woman who defeated medical knowledge, is now a married lady with four children! Yes, with all the scars and damaged lungs she never gave up. I love her more, though we rarely see each other. I can never forget the moment I went to see her – the first visitor allowed – a tiny figure on a pile of green pillows, and through her induced coma she turned her head and smiled at me. Yes, the 30th of March is etched in my very soul. Happy rebirthday KC.

On Monday we went to see the wonderful “Bustan Sefaradi” a show all about the Sefardi community in Israel with all the neighbourhood traditions they brought with them. Adults and children alike, all amateur, put on a fabulous performance and we all enjoyed watching our friend Yitzik Mussachy take the lead role. Bustan Sefaradi or Spanish Orchard was written by the late President of Israel Yitzchak Navon with his inimitable wit manner. This is not the version with Yitzchak but it is lovely

Pesach. Oh my goodness Pesach is approaching fast. I always get a sense of purity once the cupboards are ready and scrubbed and the dishes changed but before I reach that stage I find life very hard!!! In just one week we will all sit around the Seder Table, enjoying the sense of difference, of freshness, as the dishes from Zvi’s father from Poland and the Seder Plate from my family remind us of our heritage. We read in whatever language we feel comfortable, telling the story of our slavery in Egypt and our escape to the Promised Land. In general the story is quite child friendly as long as they are allowed to ask questions apart from the famous Ma NIshtana – What is Different?. I always feel that the part of the four sons is most appropriate to today – it is easy to recognise who is which. The wise son, learned and tolerant; the wicked son, also learned but utterly intolerant and cynical; the simple son who doesn’t know to question and doesn’t really get what is going on and finally the one too young to ask – now he is the one who is open and ready but hasn’t reach the age of socialization yet.

I have decided upon the menu for Seder night, after everyone has filled up on bitter herbs and cement……… what? Cement? Well actually it simply represents the cement used by the slaves in Egypt – or so I am told. It is incredibly delicious and different to everyone elses. My beautiful late Grandfather – Zeidy Yosef – used to make it each year. Good crisp apples, grated; a little ground almonds; a dash of sweet wine or grape juice and very finely shredded lettuce. I have no idea of amounts so please don’t ask……. Keep tasting and leave it overnight; oh and make tons because the kids love it!!!!

Hard boiled eggs in salt water also sounds about as tasty as cement, but it really is good! The eggs represent rebirth – Spring. Chicken soup with kneidlach; Roast lamb, chicken, salmon and Mullet Chraimeh with green salad, Broccoli and cauli bake and Roasted root veggies. Of course if Canon Andrew White comes too then I will have to create gefilte fish!!!!

Shopping is quite an experience. In the UK it was simple; Valerie and I used to go up to London to shops that opened just for Pesach (Passover). It was easy and we knew that everything on display was kosher for Passover. Here life is much more complex! First of all the Kosher for Passover shelves are not all in one place so one must take care to check and then……………… oy gevalt! Then comes the problem of “To pulse or not to pulse that is the question” Pulses, Kitnyot in Hebrew include beans, lentils, rice, etc etc and Sefardi and Eastern Jews eat them over Passover whereas Ashkenazi Jews do not. Yes I know it is crazy but I cannot make the change much to my husband’s dismay!!! So I walk around endangering everyone in my path, wearing my reading glasses to see labels!! If you think it sounds simple you should try pre-Pesach shopping in Israel!

My veranda is really worthy of its view today. Spring has sprung in a huge way, delighting me every time I walk outside with a cup of coffee to take a break from Pesach cleaning. Freesias are just coming out and filling the entire place with their heady fragrance, the tiny orange tree is about to burst into hundreds of heads of blossom, daffodils, tulips, rununculus and grape hyacinth and even the good old geraniums have woken up. All over Jerusalem one can see the crabapple and cherry blossom as the almond blossom dies back, indeed it is a glorious time to be in Jerusalem. Actually, any time is a glorious time to be in Jerusalem! I hope that the weather doesn’t get too hot for the tulips and they last until our Seder guests see them.
I am so proud of my little country. We don’t always get it right and on occasion get it wrong but we always try to be fair, to help those in need, send aid to third world countries and perform Tikkun Olam. In many ways Israel is like Kinneret Chaya – nobody expected us to survive but here we are, surviving and thriving, beautiful as ever, smiling through our pain.

See how incredible Israel is through the eyes of an aerial camera. Thank you Roy Solomon.

As the Seder food has been eaten and sleepy diners say grace after meals we all wake up to the traditional songs – Chad Gadya – Only one Kid and my favourite Who knows One?

The service ends with the most important prayer, “Next year in Jerusalem” Once it was a distant. Unachievable dream but today it is ours, we can dream our dreams right here in the steps of King David.

Shabbat Shalom dear friends. Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem, from Zvi and I and from all our family to yours.
With love